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My GenCon Experience
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I've been to GenCon several times before. Living in Indiana and being interested in board games, it's basically a requirement.

But this is the first year I really set aside time and money to do as much of the experience as I could manage. So I bought a 4-day pass, and managed to make it on Thursday and Friday before running out of energy.

This list is what I bought and played.
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1. Board Game: Corrupted Kingdoms [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:11565]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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This game was number 1 on my list and my first stop on Thursday. I hadn't actually planned on getting to the convention center as the doors opened. I figured I'd roll in around 11 or so, but I woke up early, and traffic wasn't too bad, so I ended up having my badge from the Will Call desk by 10am, and was in the exhibit hall by 5 after.

I had mapped out a few booths I wanted to get games from early, and Artana was all the way in the back, so I slowly worked my way through the crowd. I passed the Seafall booth, where a worker was triumphantly holding up a "Sold Out" sign next to it for a photo.

When I got to the Artana booth, I saw they had several hundred copies of Corrupted Kingdoms. I figured there was no rush, but I was also already there, and figured I could get the game quickly and then on to my next stop.

Unfortunately, they were having trouble with their credit card reader, and it took about 10 minutes once I had gotten in the very short line for them to get everything ready. It ended up costing me...
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2. Board Game: Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up! [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I also picked this up in the Artana booth. I had Kickstarted it. I was planning to circle back around and pick up all my Kickstarter pickups later, after I had secured my other games, but since I was stuck in the line, I grabbed this, my Broken Token organizer, and promo cards at the same time. At this point I didn't have a bag.

This was my first Broken Token organizer, and oh man, I'm in love. I used the last of my budget to get another one before I left the convention.
 
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3. Board Game: Last Friday [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2840]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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Oh boy, this one hurts. After getting through the line at Artana, I walked over to the Ares booth to find a pretty long line wrapping around most of their booth. I couldn't tell if they were still selling Last Friday, but it seemed like at least one person near me was still waiting for the game, so I hung around. I waited in line for about 30 minutes, moving very slowly, until there were only 5 people in front of me. That's when they sold out. They promised to have more on Friday.

If I'd just gotten in this line after seeing how many copies of Corrupted Kingdoms were available I probably would have gotten it. It really stung on Friday when I got in the doors immediately, found an even longer line, and they sold out even faster.

There must have been some buzz on this one over night, and it seemed like they didn't have even numbers of copies on both days. Not sure. But this one is now pre-ordered.
 
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4. Board Game: Lotus [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1316]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I was disappointed from missing out on Last Friday, which was my 2nd most wanted game, but I started moving back towards the other side of the hall, where I had Kickstarted some game bags.

Looking at my list, I realized that Lotus was on the way, so I stopped there first. The designers Jordan and Mandy were giving a brief demo that ended as I arrived. They invited myself and a couple of others to see the next demo. I actually stopped them and just asked to buy the game. I felt bad running off immediately instead of staying and chatting for a bit, but it was still early on Thursday, and I was concerned things would sell out.

I kept wandering back over Thursday and Friday to chat, but they always had a good crowd when I came by. So, Jordan and Mandy, if you end up seeing this, sorry I ran off so quickly, but I was really interested in your game. I love the overlapping card mechanic, and I'm always looking for games with new and interesting mechanics like that, since I sometimes study board games as part of my research. Thanks for creating this one.
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5. Board Game: Summit: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:3034]
 
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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After getting Lotus, I desperately needed a bag. I worked my way over to the booth where I could pick up the Game Night Bags I had Kickstarted. I had ordered 3 of them, which was more than I would ever need, but anyway...

The guy who was handing them out at the booth looked kind of familiar. I saw his badge and realized it was Conor, the designer of Summit, which I had also just Kickstarted. I introduced myself and said hi, chatting with him for a moment while waiting for someone to retrieve the bags.

Summit is another one that has a theme I haven't seen much, and I'm really looking forward to.

Once my games were secured in bags, then I was ready to find my next game.
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6. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:7]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I looked at my list, and saw a booth nearby selling Scythe which was on my list of things to look at. However, I had pretty much already decided to buy it.

It hadn't really been on my radar at all, and then my friend told me about his play, and he was raving about it. So I read the rules and had to agree, it seemed pretty great. I walked by the booth, thinking that they had probably already sold out, but they had a huge stack left over. I handed over my money and got my copy and some promo cards. It was the most expensive game I ended up buying, but I didn't really think about the cost.

The next day I walked back by, and they had an even bigger stack. So I imagine everyone who wanted Scythe at the Con got a copy.

The only problem, I was now carrying a lot of stuff, and the Scythe box weighed a TON. I put it in it's own bag and carried it in my other arm, and it seemed even heavier than all the other games combined. I felt like I might have bit off a bit more than I could chew.
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7. Board Game: Shakespeare: Backstage [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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Even though I was overloaded, and considering walking back to my car to drop things off, the next most interesting thing on my list was the Shakespeare: Backstage expansion, which was only a deck of cards, so I figured I'd wait in the long Asmodee line before walking back to my car to drop things off.

So I got in line. It moved pretty fast, and the people around me in line were friendly. And I was also able to set down my bags while I moved through the line.

The Asmodee booth wasn't really browse-able. Just a line that ran through it, and you grabbed what you wanted, and tried to keep up.

I got my Shakespeare expansion, and looked at the other games. That's when I saw...
 
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8. Board Game: Via Nebula [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:691]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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This one was on my list, and I had done a little research on it beforehand, but didn't really know a lot about it. I liked the idea of removing cloud tiles in order to make paths around the board, and it was a Martin Wallace games, who I've enjoyed as a designer. I picked up and put this down 3 times before I got to the register, but with the big stack they had at the register, I decided to get it.

This was really my only impulse purchase at the convention. I've already gotten it on the table, and I have to say, it was a worthwhile purchase.

With this purchase, I realized quickly that I had way too much stuff. I had to drop some stuff off. So I walked back to my car, getting back just in time for my scheduled game at 1pm.
 
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9. Board Game: Quartz [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:2683]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I had done some research on this, and I like press your luck games, but I was concerned it was too much like Diamant, which I already had. So rather than going to buy it, I bought a ticket to play a full game before deciding.

It took me quite awhile to find the game, and I had to go to the help desk to find it. Eventually I managed to find it.

My biggest complaint about the convention is finding the games you've bought tickets for. I had the exact same issue on Friday looking for a game, and actually didn't find it.

The game turned out to be very fun. Players can draw different colored gems from a bag to gain points at the end of the turn. If players draw 2 black gems though, they lose all their games, and are out of the mine. There are also some nice cards to play to interact with the other players, or ensure you don't get the dreaded black gems.

I had a very good first round, and managed to hang on for a 1 point win at the end of the game.

I enjoyed the game a lot, but it's 3 player minimum, and I can't always guarantee I have 3. 2 is most common. So it's hard to justify buying a 3 player game. So this one did not come home with me.

After the game, it was back to the exhibit hall.
 
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10. Board Game: Centauri Saga [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:4678]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I walked by this one on my way back through the exhibit hall. I had watched a gameplay video of it, and it seemed pretty good. So I had a demo with the designer.

He was incredibly enthusiastic, and gave a really great demo. They were also selling the game pretty cheaply for a game with so many minis. The ability to play solo was also a big plus. So I picked it up.

The designer also handed me an updated printed rulebook, which was a nice touch.
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11. Board Game: The Great Dinosaur Rush [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:2171]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I hadn't counted my cash since I started, but I knew I had spent more than half of my budget by that point, and I figured that almost anything that had been in short supply was probably gone by that point (around 2pm), so I decided to circle back and pick up some games I had pre-ordered/Kickstarted. I had seen the booth for Great Dinosaur Rush on my way through the Con, so I got that first.
 
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12. Board Game: Grimslingers [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:3315] [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I had pre-ordered this, and good thing I did, because by the time I got there, they had sold out of all their free stock.

I picked up my game, and the designer was there to sign it as well.

At that point, I had spent most of my budget, picked up all my pre-order games, and played all my scheduled games. My feet were also killing me. So I stopped to chat with a friend who was working a booth for a bit, and then headed home for the day.
 
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13. Board Game: London Dread [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2084]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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On Friday, I didn't have a ton of money left to spend on games, and I had gotten pretty much everything I wanted on Thursday, so I decided to focus on demos.

My first stop was for Last Friday, which of course I didn't get. I had lunch with friends scheduled for noon, so I had some time to kill.

I had been really curious about London Dread, but just couldn't figure out what kind of game it was, so I wanted to get a demo before considering it. There were already people doing the demo when I got there, so I tried to look over their shoulder, but still couldn't really figure out what was going on. I came back several times, but never was able to get a full demo without waiting for awhile, and it seemed like they were already sold out by then, so I'll wait for reviews and gameplay videos.
 
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14. Board Game: MoonQuake Escape [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:8350]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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At this point in the convention, I had enough money left for a small game or two, so I started looking further down my list, trying to decide if there was anything else I wanted to grab.

This one was of interest, and there were copies available to buy when I went by their booth, but at $60, I didn't feel like I knew enough about it to grab it.
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15. Board Game: Vast: The Crystal Caverns [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:508] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I was definitely interested in this one, with the variable roles and win conditions, and also the ability to play solo. But even after looking at gameplay videos, and a demo, I just couldn't quite bring myself to grab it. To me, the main thing I saw was "Knight fighting a dragon", which didn't seem super appealing to me. I imagine the game is much deeper than that, but I was being pretty cautious with my purchases by then.
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16. Board Game: Project: ELITE [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:1087]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I was also able to get a long demo of this game, which has a timed phase where players furiously roll dice to activate actions to fight the aliens.

The minis were awesome and the gameplay looked like lots of fun. However, the game was $100, and the expansion was another $55. I wasn't really wanting to spend $100 on a single game, much less $155, so I had to pass. Hopefully I can pick it up in the future.
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17. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:4]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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I was interested in this one, and considered it on Thursday, but prioritized other things. I really liked the theme, and the gameplay seemed like something I'd enjoy.

By the time I came back on Friday, they were sold out, making the decision for me. Oh well.
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18. Board Game: Council of Blackthorn [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:3359]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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This was another one I was interested in buying, but wasn't really sure if it was one I wanted. I had bought a ticket to play a game on Friday, but could not find out where it was being played. I searched the area the game was supposed to be played in for about 20 minutes, and never saw anyone playing it or a box set up. So I gave up, and headed to the booth. I ended up getting a demo from the designer himself. That was sufficient for me to see that it was something I could get into, so I bought it, and got some cool promos.
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19. Board Game: Star Trek: Ascendancy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:609] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Andy Hunsucker
United States
Bloomington
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I've been looking for a game that really captured the spirit of Star Trek for awhile, but almost all of them seem to be war games with a few Star Trek decorations hung around the edges.

I had pretty much already decided not to get this one, since it won't play with 2, but I wanted to get a feel for it, so I went to the booth for a demo of the game.

After looking at it closely, I decided it was still too focused on combat, and lost interest.
 
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20. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Andy Hunsucker
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I got short demos of a handful of other games, but my convention had pretty much run it's course. I made one last stop, at the Broken Token booth. After putting together my Tesla Vs Edison organizer that came with my expansion Kickstarter, I was looking for any excuse to buy another.

I didn't have a lot of games that they had organizers for, and even fewer that I felt were worth the expense for the value they provided. But Eclipse is a game that could really use some help with setup speed. So I grabbed this on my way out of the convention.

I still didn't get the full GenCon experience, but I was driving an hour back and forth each day, so I didn't want to stay out all night. Saturday I had a family emergency to attend to, and by Sunday I felt like there wasn't much more to do at the Con.

I'm definitely tempted to get a hotel room for the length of the Con and really do everything, but that will have to wait until next year.

In the end, I came home with a little money leftover, which I was pretty pleased with. I've also already gotten most of my purchased games on the table, either with a group or solo.

And that's it for me from GenCon.
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